Refugee Week is a celebration of people from all backgrounds, working together to understand different points of view, and to build integrated communities which welcome people who have sought sanctuary in the UK.
The theme for 2020 is ‘Imagine the potential of Wales as a true Nation of Sanctuary’.
Refugees and asylum seekers often arrive in Wales following traumatic experiences in their countries of origin and on their journeys to the UK. Welsh Government is working to ensure that these individuals are supported to rebuild their lives and make a full contribution to Welsh society.
The UK government is responsible for asylum policy, which includes asylum application decision making, the provision of support and accommodation for asylum seekers, and the operation of refugee resettlement schemes. This means that many of the challenges experienced by these communities cannot be fully resolved without policy changes by the UK government.
The UK government decides how many sanctuary seekers are resettled in Wales and the Welsh Government works to ensure those individuals are given the best chance to integrate and rebuild their lives in our communities.
The ‘Nation of Sanctuary’ plan outlines the breadth of work which the Welsh Government is undertaking across Wales to ensure inequalities experienced by these communities are reduced, access to opportunities increased, and relations between their communities and wider society improved.
Deputy Minister and Chief Whip, Jane Hutt, said:
“Refugees are just ordinary people, like us. But they have lost everything. They have been forced to flee war and persecution in their own countries and, just like us, they seek a life of dignity, freedom and security.
“Wales is now their home. They contribute to their communities, and they are rebuilding their lives here. We value and benefit from their skills, their entrepreneurial spirit and the sharing of their cultures.”
Homa, a refugee from Iran, said:
“I want to say thank you to the Welsh Government and to the people of Wales for supporting me. I feel at peace. Living in Wales has helped me to gain the self-confidence I lost in my country. Here, people encourage me – they make me stronger. I believe that I can do something for this country, for this government, and for these kind people. You make me feel that I belong, and that this is my home.”
Jane Hutt continued:
“Welsh Government is here to stand by you, to work with you, and to learn from you. We remain committed to making Wales a real Nation of Sanctuary, where people of every race, faith and colour are valued for their character and actions.
“I want to say to all refugees and asylum seekers living in Wales – you are heard, you are welcome, and it is our privilege to have you here.”